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Fourth Thematic Seminar

Saturday, 23 April 2022

April 21, 2022 the fourth Thematic Seminar was held. Here, Johanna Hedlund and Els Weinans gave a talk about Policy issue interdependency and collaboration in environmental governance and An exploration of drivers of opinion dynamics respectively.

If you want to (re)watch the seminar, a recording can be downloaded below. Besides this, a short overview of the talk can be found below. 

Policy issue interdependency and collaboration in environmental governance by Johanna Hedlund

Many of today’s most pressing environmental problems cross-cut jurisdictional, geographical, and administrative boundaries, creating interdependencies across multiple policy issues and sectors, such as transport, energy, or water. In practice, however, environmental policy is still often contained within the traditional responsibilities of the public sector and frequently judged ineffective, particularly in the European context. Whether and how policy issue interdependencies are actually associated with collaboration between policy actors has remained difficult to establish. Hence, this presentation will focus on i) how policy issue interdependencies can be effectively represented by networks, both as conceptual models and as analytical methods ii) how policy issue interdependencies align with the collaborations of policy actors and iii) how policy diffusion and cross-sectoral policy integration may enhance governance resilience. Why would policy actors avoid collaboration related to interdependent policy issues?

An exploration of drivers of opinion dynamics by Els Weinans

For our recently submitted paper, we created an agent based model that describes opinion dynamics based on opinions (fast changing element), values (slow changing element), and personality traits (static element) that differ for different agents. Sensitivity tests of our model reveal that the likelihood of reaching either a consensus state or a polarized state is determined mostly by the amount of stochasticity in the opinion updating procedure and the relative ease with which links are removed and new links are created. These results provide new testable hypotheses, such as that intermediate stochasticity leads to convergence of opinions. Additionally, these results can inform policy makers on sources of uncertainty in opinion dynamics. This is especially important when support base is required for new policies, such as covid-related restrictions.

All individual seminars can be found in de 4TU RE calendar.